The Digital Customer Success Podcast

Customer Education and The Digital Journey with Erica Akroyd of Pendo | Episode 042

March 05, 2024 Alex Turkovic, Erica Akroyd Episode 42
The Digital Customer Success Podcast
Customer Education and The Digital Journey with Erica Akroyd of Pendo | Episode 042
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers
I always love talking with people who work within companies that serve the CS community, and this one is no different. Erica was a fantastic guest to have on the show, partly because of the myriad of roles she's played at the company but also because she has done and is doing some pretty cool things in the realm of digital and customer education.

In this fascinating conversation we talk about:

  • Her journey into customer education at Pendo
  • The approach to dealing with a new set of circumstances or ambiguity
  • Interplay at Pendo between digital plays and educational offerings
  • Driving prescriptive outcomes in customers’ journeys, especially when there are many potential outcomes 
  • Identifying users' roles in-product to make sure content is curated for the right audience 
  • 1:1 Office Hours - assess, unblock & get out. Customers have availability via a calendar to a resource if they are stuck
  • Start with where you are, what problems you’re trying to solve and what is your inventory of existing resources
  • Facilitate the happy path digitally and using your humans to intervene when they stray
  • Using the resources around you and partnering with other teams to fill in the gaps that you have around subject matter expertise, content creation, etc.
  • Prioritizing content creation based on product roadmap, customer impact of a product change  
  • Instructional designers are underusing heroes in SaaS
  • Brand & design standards - when to adhere to them strictly or not
Enjoy! I know I sure did...

Erica's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/esakroyd/

Shoutout: Daphne Costa Lopes: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daphnecostalopes/

++++++++++++++++++

Support the show

+++++++++++++++++

Like/Subscribe/Review:
If you are getting value from the show, please follow/subscribe so that you don't miss an episode and consider leaving us a review.

Website:
For more information about the show or to get in touch, visit DigitalCustomerSuccess.com.

Buy Alex a Cup of Coffee:
This show runs exclusively on caffeine - and lots of it. If you like what we're, consider supporting our habit by buying us a cup of coffee: https://bmc.link/dcsp

Thank you for all of your support!

The Digital Customer Success Podcast is hosted by Alex Turkovic

Speaker 1:

I am not a fan of people setting up office hours just for the sake of office hours.

Speaker 1:

Like we're going to have an hour meeting every Thursday and you show up and you know blah, blah. No, we just decided we're not going to get around the fact that we need somebody that can, like go in, assess, unblock and get out. So now we have a very kind of like window of time where people have access to this link. It's basically just using Calendly and you get certain you know times locked off so it protects. You know our internal resources calendar.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

And it also gives the end user, our customer, what they're looking for, which is dedicated time to like. Look at this thing on my screen and help me figure out what the heck I did wrong.

Speaker 3:

And, once again, welcome to the digital customer success podcast with me, alex Trokovich. So glad you could join us here today and every week as I seek out and interview leaders and practitioners who are innovating and building great scaled CS programs. My goal is to share what I've learned and to bring you along with me for the ride so that you get the insights that you need to build and evolve your own digital CS program. If you'd like more info and want to get in touch or sign up for the latest updates, go to digital customer success dot com. For now, let's get started.

Speaker 2:

Hello and welcome to episode 42 of the digital customer success podcast and, in case you couldn't tell, I got myself a cold and I'm on the rebound, but wanted to at least do a little intro for you. If you're watching on YouTube, there's definitely no video involved in this intro at all. Today's conversation is with Erica Ackroyd of Pendo. She has been at Pendo for quite some time and has done a myriad of different things at Pendo. Most notably I think especially in relation to this podcast is she's led the digital or scaled teams and now currently runs the customer education team, both of which are very relevant to this show. So we dig into all kinds of wonderful topics related to digital CS, but then also customer education. She dropped some hot takes on office hours and you know just really how to facilitate that happy path digitally with your customers. So I do hope that you enjoy this conversation with Erica Ackroyd, because I sure did.

Speaker 3:

Welcome to the show.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, thank you.

Speaker 3:

So happy to have you. It's been a little while coming and we've traded lots of messages. We've met several times. In fact, the first time I met you is when we were evaluating Pendo and then didn't have budget to buy anything.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, we do have free product, though, by the way, so yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly, but no excuses at all.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, get that cookie in there. But you know I find Pendo fascinating, but I find your kind of history within Pendo equally fascinating, so I was really happy to have you on the show. I know that you were recently on the BS and CS crew show as well, which is super fun to listen to and whatnot. The one thing that I did learn on that show not the one thing I learned several things on that show but the one thing I wanted to ask you about just kind of in opening, is how you know you mentioned your husband was Dan Hekeroid's nephew or somebody mentioned that and it's like was it really?

Speaker 3:

It was a total joke. I was like, is that for?

Speaker 1:

real. I always just like yep, that's true, because I think people really want it to be true. I want it to be true, but it's not.

Speaker 3:

It's so not true, I totally missed that. Does that go in your two truths and a lie like all the?

Speaker 1:

time. No, it's short.

Speaker 3:

Do people even play two truths and a lie anymore.

Speaker 1:

I haven't played that in so long, thank God.

Speaker 3:

Thank God. Yeah, I played it about a year ago and I was like, really, yeah, I don't like it, but I should.

Speaker 1:

I should add that in. I just feel like people would love to believe that that's my truth.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you're just going to play two truths and a lie just because of that, yeah, totally Well.

Speaker 3:

Currently you're leading the customer education function at Pendo, which is cool. You know I love customer education. It's like the unsung hero a lot of times, of like helping to get folks to where they need to go in terms of their outcome. But I think your journey into that role is very interesting just because you do have a super rich customer success background and I don't think that isn't very common. I mean, people kind of follow an education path and then that's the path.

Speaker 1:

So I'd love to kind of get your sense on how your CS kind of background or CS history with Pendo has informed that, yeah, I honestly think that a lot of the things that I've done at Pendo would only happen because have only happened because I work at a company like Pendo with a software like Pendo, because to me, you know, we've been doing product led or scaled customer success since I started using the tool it. Just, you know, we're so lucky that we had this tool to make it so easy for us to do these types of things at scale and communicate at scale and use data to inform a lot of our playbooks. So I honestly, just like I never thought I would be a product manager, I never thought I would end up in a customer education org, because I kind of disassociated, like LMS and instructional design, and I'm like I know nothing about that.

Speaker 1:

but you know, we saw an opportunity where the education team was under product, the product org, and I saw an opportunity where I could go over there and kind of really expand what education at Pendo or even just what education as a whole means to you know a soft business, and really like that's where true self-serve, that's where the true foundational layer of education and product adoption can really start. And my big stance has been just all the things that my team works on, whether it's in-product messaging, help center articles, video content, that's all the stuff that should just be foundational for all of our customers, regardless of how big or small they are.

Speaker 3:

Yep, yeah, for sure, I mean it is. You know, I think you can't really have a solid kind of I mean self-serve environment unless you have the content to back that up, because otherwise it's just going to be, you know, more humans involved in the mix, and that's not the goal.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think if we hadn't really been focused on our free offering I don't think this my world would have collided with that group. So yeah a lot of that. My career just is like happenstance, or being in the right place at the right time or kind of finding my niche within a role and then people really seeing and gravitating towards what we're doing and then pulling it in.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, for sure, which is actually one of the things that I wanted to ask you about, which is you seem to have an innate ability to deal with ambiguous situations like very well, Like there's something new that gets thrown your way maybe you do, maybe you don't know anything about it and you just kind of dive right in, much like you did with product management, and I would imagine there was some learning about SCORM files and stuff like that with education services.

Speaker 1:

I still know nothing about SCORM files.

Speaker 3:

I know what they are, yeah, exactly. Well, that's about all you need to know. But like what is that? How does that kind of manifest itself in you and what is your approach and your mentality into dealing with those types of situations and just tackling it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think I just always start with like what is the problem we're trying to solve? What's the data telling us? And then I really just love a challenge, I love just I listen, I love what is the problem we're trying to solve? Try something new, like treat it as an experiment. I definitely learned this in product management, where there's no failures in experiments. So calling things an experiment kind of lowers the bar a little bit, of trying something new, so see if it works, if it does, keep going, if it doesn't, you iterate. But no failures in experiments, there's only learnings. And so that's kind of the mentality that I've brought to each of these kind of situations where they need a new leader or something's not working, and just kind of go in and try to learn as much as I can. Like I never want anyone to think that I come into a situation where I'm like, oh, I'm the expert because I was put here, it's like I knew nothing about product management but I spent a lot of time researching you know and taking courses.

Speaker 1:

I knew nothing about customer education, but I spent a lot of time like learning more about you know what does education mean at Pendo and what is education as a whole. And I think, as long as you do that, you kind of start to learn how your skill set fits in with what they're looking for and then what to do from there.

Speaker 3:

That's true. I mean you know this all speaks to, I think, your abilities as a leader and your approach to leadership, I think, is a really healthy one, and it's obvious that you know the company feels good about putting you in those situations because they know you're just going to, you know, kill it and grill it and take it home and fix stuff, which is really cool. But yeah, I mean, to your point, like you know, as a leader, it's really more around, like you said, analyzing what is the problem we're trying to solve, what resources do we have to solve them, what expertise can you surround yourself with, to you know, to solve those problems?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

This is knowing everything yourself. That's not ideal.

Speaker 1:

Not ideal, for sure.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, obviously this is the digital CS podcast. I ask all my guests this, the same fundamental question, which is you know I'd love your kind of 10, 30 second elevator pitch of digital CS, scaled CS, and what it means to you based on your background and history and expertise.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I kind of mentioned this a little bit earlier, where I just think a digital approach or a scaled approach to customer success really should be the foundation of any customer success program across any customer segment. So it's not in place of humans. I think a lot of times people associate digital with replacing humans, but allowing CS A lot of times, a lot of times. Yeah, To me it's. It's driving more impact with the people that you have, so allowing humans to do what they do best and be more effective in their roles.

Speaker 3:

Mm, hmm, yeah, I couldn't agree more. And that last bit, too, is something that a lot of people miss is allowing people to be more effective in their roles. They think it's just, you know, well, we're going to send some emails, we're going to do some in in app, we're going to do some surveys, and there's our, you know, digital program versus like, how do we make our humans as a effective as possible?

Speaker 1:

Mm, hmm.

Speaker 3:

Mm. Hmm, yep, can you? So you spent a fair amount of time, you know, scaling CS programs at Pendo and you've since moved into this education role. Can you talk a little bit about, maybe a little bit deeper into, what that interplay is between you know the, the education offerings and the some of the you know motions that are in place? I mean, we kind of touched on a little bit, but I want to get a little bit more tactical as to you know what that really looks like and and and how it's used practically.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So we on the education team now our mantra is to solve for the 80%, and what that means to us is we're never going to figure out the solution for every single user, because there's way too many personas that use our product.

Speaker 1:

There's way too many use cases or outcomes that people are trying to draw drive. So we have to just do the best that we can, because perfect is the enemy of good, and you know we are really there to help people understand how to use the software and how that's going to drive their outcomes. We are not going to cover all the nuances and all the complexities. There's just no way. So in everything that we do, we try to solve for the 80%, knowing that you know there's going to be those layers of humans on top of that, whether it be one to many doing webinars you know things like that user groups or one to one intervention, where it's, you know you've got risk. You've got large enterprise customers, you know people with dedicated reps, things like that. So we are not trying to solve all the world's problems with what we're doing, and so it helps to always keep that frame of mind.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, for sure. And I want to dig into one point that you made just a bit ago, which was around the use cases and kind of the desired outcomes, because I think at the core of a digital program is knowing, like you know, what your customers intended outcomes are. And I think in some cases it's very easy, like some you know, some vendors or some platforms. It's maybe like two, three outcomes that customers are pushing for on a repeated basis, some I'm in that situation included.

Speaker 3:

I mean, there's a list, you know there's yeah yeah, yeah, it's like there's a list and it's it's. It's not short, it's like, you know, it's it's in the teens or maybe 20s or so, and and that's where I think it gets particularly dicey and particularly challenging in solving for that, and I don't know where I'm going with this, other than to ask you like how, like what, because you know, again, you can't curate this thing as cleanly as you could if there were one or two, you know consistent outcomes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think this is again. I hate to say this and I'm really, really not trying to plug Pendo constantly on this podcast, I promise you. But if I didn't have Pendo, I would be completely dependent on our product team to do these things, for us to make product changes. So I'll give you an example Our product when you register for a new account, we ask you what your role is and what your use case is.

Speaker 1:

So that's great for all the first registrants, but we don't know anything about people if they're added later, except we implemented these in-app guides for all new users added to an account. That asks what do you want to do? So if we didn't have a tool like Pendo, we would not be able to make it a true, relevant, curated experience for these users. And so I guess, if you don't have a tool like Pendo, that would be my recommendation is you've got to get in front of the product team and you've got to talk about how important it is to know what your customers' desired outcomes, job to be done, whatever you want to call it, something to know why did they come here, and that way you have that data, because without that data, you're flying blind.

Speaker 3:

Totally. Yeah, you can put stuff out there all you want, but you know, connecting the dots becomes the hard part. So are there curated like content streams? I mean, I'm guessing there are, but like based on, let's say, I'm Joe and I select this outcome or this outcome. What does that look like afterwards?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So you get an in-product kind of experience that, based off of your selection, we provide you with like a use case video from our customers. So it's kind of we call it how I Pendo story. So it's not just like whatever we're feeding you, it's like our customers are saying these things and this is what they've done. So we have an in-app experience. But we also realize, like, not everybody likes to go through a walkthrough in product. So then we, you know, link you out to a knowledge base and then we follow up with an email, based off of your selection, to say here's some resources that you might, you know, enjoy. So everything is kind of tied back to that.

Speaker 3:

First, like login experience, yeah, yeah that's really cool, are there I mean, I can count on probably multiple hands of things that I've tried that haven't quite landed and then but eventually kind of led to success. You know, and I think I'm guessing you've kind of experienced some of that, both in your current role maybe a previous role as well where you've tried stuff. It didn't quite stick but you learned like a super valuable lesson. Do you have any examples of things like that as kind of like a cautionary tale?

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, so many. I mean I think it's important to like. The one that stands out is trying to recreate success that we had had with a previous like one to many programs. So when, when? We first kind of got started with these user overview webinars.

Speaker 1:

We were doing them bi-weekly and this was really just an effort to get our inbound email volume down it was like insane, how much how many emails we were getting and questions we were getting, and most of it was centered just around basics of how to use the product. So we were getting like hundreds of registrants every two weeks consistently. So we were like we're on fire. We thought, oh, okay, we'll try another topic. We were getting a lot of like asks to do something a little bit more technical and the persona was more nuanced. So we were like, all right, we're going to try this.

Speaker 1:

You know, install webinar and we have four attendees. We had more Pendo people on the on the webinar than we did customers and it was just a huge fail. So we learned that the topic was not the most conducive to a one to many format. So we switched to offering one to one office hours, which has been way more successful and cost effective for us, and it's just the outcome that we are actually looking for. So one to many is not always the answer for everything.

Speaker 3:

So you want one to one office hour. One to one office hour. How does it work?

Speaker 1:

I cringe when I hear the word office hours, but my tune has changed because I am not a fan of people setting up office hours just for the sake of office hours. We're going to have an hour meeting every Thursday and you show up and blah, blah, blah. No, that to me is also a waste of your time. Everyone else's time. That's not technically one-to-one, that's still. You're having to sit around and listen to other people. You basically needed someone to help people with more technical questions, because Pendo does require an install and there are some nuances to it.

Speaker 1:

We just decided we're not going to get around the fact that we need somebody that can go in, assess, unblock and get out. Now we have a very window of time where people have access to this link. It's basically just using Calendly and you get certain times locked off. It protects our internal resources calendar and it also gives the end user or customer what they're looking for, which is dedicated time to look at this thing on my screen and help me figure out what the heck I did wrong. It's not office hours in the way you think of office hours. It's literally just looking at one-to-one calls at designated times, but if they have a booking, they go to the meeting. If they don't have a booking, they don't.

Speaker 1:

They do something else with their time, their precious time.

Speaker 3:

Is this a pooled team or are there assigned resources? Are you meeting with the same person regularly?

Speaker 1:

For this particular program. It's one person who we have gotten approval to use their time and effort. We're very grateful for that. We're very grateful for our professional services. Org Got you.

Speaker 3:

We are very grateful to be able to use them. That's amazing.

Speaker 1:

These are for our I should mention, this program is for our free customers our free customer base. Everybody's like we're not touching this, it's free, we're not getting any revenue from it. We were able to show how easily and how quickly the right person was able to get in, diagnose the issue and then get people on a path to success and upgrading and all the things that are like oh crap, this is great.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's also like ticket deflection it keeps your support teams on break fix and instead of configuration, so that's super cool. It leads to one of my other questions. You pointed to the fact that hey look, we're using a resource that's available. I think probably the number one question that I get from listeners is where do I start? Where do I start this journey down? Scaled or digital customer success? My answer, invariably, is you start with what you have. You look at the problems you're trying to solve. You look at what you have. You marry the two. I think your example was when you stepped into that scaled role. You started with a webinar program, but, in general, what advice would you give folks that are trying to get into this world in terms of where they should start their programs?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head where you have to start with where you are. You have to take inventory of your resources. So a lot of the things that we did when I started with the scaled CS team at Pendo was out of necessity because I had one CSM. I had a program manager who was recently moved from CSM into this program manager role, so this person was not customer facing anymore.

Speaker 2:

And a community manager.

Speaker 1:

So we really had to lean hard into those digital approaches and product-led approaches and I had to protect my one CSM for the 800 customers that we had and the $40 million in revenue that we had under that motion at the time to the most critical engagements and like just could not just have him on calls constantly. So if I had five or more CSMs, then that strategy would have looked a lot different. So my advice would be regardless of how many CSMs you have for this like scaled motion, use their time wisely. You know you've got to have that foundation of digital and data-driven motions. If you have an education team or if you have content, you have something built out already. Great Like. Use that, build upon it. If you don't, then you're probably going to want to use those resources to start building up that content and then facilitate the happy path using the digital motions and use the humans to catch people as they start to veer off and get them back on a path towards their desired outcomes.

Speaker 3:

The shepherds yes, you have to support people. No, go this way. Go this way yes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

That's super good advice and, you know, because I think that the temptation is to design something really stellar and cutting edge and intricate on a PowerPoint slide and then you get to implementation is like well, what can we actually do?

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Because I was super lucky that I had that program manager who could just like churn out some digital stuff, because we down so many people to be customer facing and I also had recently hired a community manager. So at the same time we were really beefing up our like peer-led kind of engagements and using our community to our advantage. And you know, if you so, if you have, if you have none of those things, then that's really scary. But I can guarantee you have at least a CSM who's really good at customer facing work. And so it's like if you don't have the digital piece, that's fine. But what you really really need is like the people who can use data to kind of drive where they go.

Speaker 1:

And sometimes we use more like reactive things, like sales, like sales would have to fill out a form to say, hey, this customer is at risk. I need you to get and you know, get on a call with them. This is their ARR, here's their the opportunity. And I would have them put the CSM, the scale CSM on the opportunity so that we could associate the revenue.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, sure.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that close one. Like we get credit for that as like we influence that revenue. So there was a lot of, like you know, process change that I think a lot of folks had to get used to. But since then they've really built that team out. I think originally they thought, oh, a scaled CS motion, they only need one CSM or they only need two, and really, like I think it depends. I don't know what the magic number is, but that team grew and then I just think you kind of have to figure out right now what do we do with these people? Yeah, they don't all need to be doing one to many. Because You've got people, you should be using them. You know it's your advantage.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean, you know, if you've got those resources in place, you don't want to keep like having them. You know, like hold the fire hose. Like you know, you have a couple people hold the fire hose but the rest of them are, like you know, just figuring out like. Eliminate fires before they start.

Speaker 1:

Right yeah.

Speaker 3:

Weird analogy.

Speaker 1:

That team to develop more content though, so like I think you made a comment about, you know, like using your resources or partnering with other teams, and so I think that's just another Great thing that I've experienced at Pendo is like, regardless of where people sit in the orgs, we try to help each other out and do what we can to Get it off the ground. And, like I said, if you pitch it as an experiment, people are way more likely to like Give you the resources that you need or give you the time that you need from a particular person, and that way you can say like we're just trying it out and then we'll see what happens. And if you have data to say that it works, then they're way more likely to want to get involved because you have data that now proves their impact.

Speaker 3:

Mm-hmm. Yeah, that's super smart. It. Do you Really like that? Do you do you? When it comes to the education side of the world, how are you prioritizing what content to focus on? I mean, are you, are you? I Assume you're using the data around you and the inputs from various teams, like ticket volumes and all that kind of stuff, but can you give us a view into that world?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, our thing, our primary, focuses on our like new products that are coming out. So we have to. You know, we always say nothing gets shipped without documentation. So for us a product release isn't finished until there's documentation and that is like the bare minimum and it's not nothing because it is awesome documentation. Then you know we have these education managers that are assigned to each product pillars.

Speaker 1:

So you know, if a huge Change is coming out to functionality or a brand new functionality, we kind of assess, all right, like what's the customer impact of this? It might not be the bright, shiny new feature that we're promoting on pandemonium stage, but it's gonna impact, you know, every single one of our customers. Yeah, so we make sure we have a plan for you know education. You know whether it be videos in app help center, articles in app and help center articles are like the fastest, I would say. And then our, you know, the Learning and development team kind of comes in and like make sure that our courses are up to date and Totally to me, like I have such a huge respect for people who are doing our like instructional design.

Speaker 3:

It is so challenging to keep up with and yeah, I think, I think I think instructional designers and Anyone who's running kind of e-learning development within a SAS environment deserves All the accolades that they could ever get in there. I mean, it's just like when you think about okay, yeah, you've got to do. You know X Y, z. It takes some time to develop these courses. You know, shoot the screen caps, do the voiceover or whatever it looks like, but then guess what? Yes, total translation, regionalization. But then guess what? They move the button to the other side, right. So it's like it becomes a challenge of like okay, how do I develop this in an agnostic way to where maybe we can just rip and replace the images instead of the voiceover? It's just like planning that goes into a really well-run e-learning machine is insane.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and we just did a whole rebrand of our Navigation and everyone was like it's not that big of a change, it's just a color, and we're like do you know how many videos there are With that old navigation? So it's he like you know, my team is just incredible. You know. I'm like you know it's, it's gonna be okay if we don't get them on. They're like no, we have to make sure that this looks right. You know, it's like there's new people coming in and it's like everybody's just like, so focused on our customer experience and.

Speaker 1:

So that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

I think that it also helps that, like our company, views Education as a part of the product experience as well, and we know that not all customers Learn in the same way, so you can't say one is better than the other is better than the other, because To that one user, they might enjoy this type of learning style versus this type. So again, it's that's all for the 80. You need to have all types of learning available and let them choose what they want and make sure that it's Accessible. I think that was one of the biggest issues that we had previously was people didn't even know about our resources yeah, for sure.

Speaker 1:

I would go on calls with customers and scale and they'd be mad. They don't have a CSM. And I'm like I pull up our community that has all of our self-serve resources and they're like, oh, this would have been great. I'm like it's there, glad I could help. So we made sure that all of our you know Resources are pointing to each other. Yeah, it's all there.

Speaker 3:

One thing that I I Feel like a lot of people struggle with is this notion of letting Kind of the outcome, or the the end result, overshadow some of the creativity that goes into building some of this stuff, and and yeah, I'm talking about education content and and documentation Okay, maybe there's a little bit less room for creativity, but when it comes to like digital motions, and, and how to approach, like solving For getting a certain message out and doing it in a way that feels human, and all that kind of stuff, I feel like the, the mission to do that sometimes conflicts with the creativity that's needed to do it well, and and and I wanted to just get your thoughts on that, because what we just talked about kind of reminded me of this- yeah, I feel like that is so true where I think sometimes people just get stuck in the same old, same old and they go oh well, this is how we do it in an enterprise motion, so this is how we got to do it in this way, in this way, or they go this is how we do it in enterprise, so there's no way it's the same down, right, you know, and it's like there's no room for that, like flexibility of thinking of you know, trying new things, or I Feel like a lot of times it gets over complicated, like what are we really trying to solve?

Speaker 1:

for one of the best examples, as I started working really closely with our product, like growth team, are the product team and they were really struggling with install Rates, which is why they initially tapped my team to do these like one to many install webinars for their free audience, and I think it just kind came down to like they were treating every single user and every single registrant kind of like the same and.

Speaker 1:

You know, like, is the goal really to get everyone to learn how to install, or is the goal really to get our, the people who know how to do it and say that it's like think it's easy to do it? Because I'd get on calls with engineers and they'd be like it's nothing hard, guys, installing isn't that hard, it's four lines of code. And I'd be like you don't understand our customers. And then I was like, like, like, it is really easy, we're just asking the wrong people to do it. And so that completely changed like the whole strategy around pushing people to install. The messaging that they got it was like wild. And so then install rates started going crazy, because we weren't trying to force every single installer or person who's logging in to install. We were just trying to get them to like, invite somebody.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, sure.

Speaker 1:

In an engineer in here. You know it's just like. So I don't think that they were thinking in that way of like. I don't want to say they weren't thinking creatively, I just think they weren't. They didn't have enough like of the customer knowledge or that background to be like. Get the right message the right person. Yeah, maybe they don't want everyone to do it yeah, exactly Exactly.

Speaker 1:

Wait a minute, like, instead of making install easier, which it's the same way it's been for the beginning of time, just get it in the hands of the right person.

Speaker 3:

Right person, right time. That's right. What a novel idea. What a novel idea.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think it's hard for people to say what will? These people aren't as important, and I don't think that's what we're saying either.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Again, you have to solve for the 80,. You know you have to cannot solve for everything.

Speaker 3:

You can't at all At all. Do you? Is there a? Is there a kind of a brand voice that you operate under, if that makes sense, or do you try to create voice in the things that you're doing?

Speaker 1:

So for anything in product, we just recently created kind of some like in product standards, because I don't think that our product, I don't think you should know who built a guide, versus like if somebody from my team built a guide or somebody from those team built a title do, do, do, do.

Speaker 1:

Pendo is the messenger, so it's Pendo's brand. So we do have brand standards. That marketing has done you know voice and tone, all of that, so now we make sure that all of our guides have that. When it comes to like videos, I let my team infuse a little bit of personality into it, as long as the content is accurate. I mean, I literally listened to some of my team's videos and I start laughing because they're so funny, they're so engaging and I'm like this is yeah, it's nice, because you're not just like select the button on the right. You know it's like. You know we're trying to make it fun, we're trying to make it engaging and yeah. So I think we have a little bit more flexibility in emails, depending on who is the sender and what the intent is. And then our all of our video content.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, there's a. There's a time to humanize and there's a time not to humanize, and I think you know, if you talk about technical documentation, probably not the time to to sneak in a dad joke, right A?

Speaker 1:

colloquial is that which I've learned a lot about since I joined the education team with. Just like, how much language we're using that is not international or, you know, can be offensive to others. I'm like, oh my gosh, like I don't even think about that, it's a whole thing. Yeah, it's a whole thing. It's a whole thing.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we've. We've even had to, you know, modify some of our email messaging depending on, you know, like regionalization and and we. We tend to keep things a little bit more straightforward for media media audiences than we might for America's audiences, and those kinds of things. It's very interesting.

Speaker 1:

I think, yeah, that's totally important for sure. Yeah, then like, how many versions of things do you have?

Speaker 3:

Just like right, exactly, there's more stuff to track. So, look as we. I've really enjoyed this conversation, but as we kind of start to wind things down, one thing that I always like to do is to give my guests an opportunity to share you know what's in their content, diet and what, what they're paying attention to, because it's it's always fascinating to to to see you know what folks are listening to and even if it's not, you know CS related, it's super cool.

Speaker 1:

I gotta be honest, I I do get on LinkedIn and I like to read, you know, like, what is thrown at me. I think I just like really have a lot of like peers and in the industry and the biz that I like to talk to and bounce ideas off of. I don't listen to. Sorry, I don't really listen to a lot of podcasts Like I probably should get into it a little bit more. But yeah, I really like reading a lot about the product, like growth function.

Speaker 1:

Cause I think that's very interesting to me. It's so funny in like a customer facing, like having a customer facing background, and now being at the opposite end where you're like do anything you possibly can to not interface with the humans. So it's like an interesting challenge and yeah, I think it's, I think it's cool. So I read a lot of that, like the Lenny, you know. Lenny podcast, little blurbs. From time to time I'm more of a reader than a listener. So, I'll like read the recaps.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's awesome, I love it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I should probably do more.

Speaker 3:

I mean should, don't should yourself, you know, it's all good, it's whatever it is for you. Um, I love that saying. By the way, don't should yourself. We use it a lot in our house, don't should yourself. Just be you. Is there anyone that you might want to give a shout out to? Maybe somebody on LinkedIn that you paid a lot of attention to, that that's doing cool stuff in digital. Or maybe you know some of your, some of the Pendo customers that are doing cool stuff in digital.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh, there's so many I feel like there's so many Pendo customers that I learned a lot from. There was a recent um post from the head of customer success at a HubSpot I don't know if you follow her Daphne Costa.

Speaker 2:

Lopez, I think it's great.

Speaker 1:

So, um, she just, it was like my two worlds combining around, like customer success and product growth where, like I don't know, a lot of times people think they're at odds with each other. Like I said, they think product led or digital is like trying to replace humans. But it was a really interesting um post just about, like I don't know how to invest in like an integrated go to market strategy. Yeah, it's everywhere, and I feel like Pendo is at a point now where we're starting to kind of converge and realizing that like we were doing a lot of things in these silos. Um, anyway, I thought it was a really good I can send you the link to the um to the past.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I love her stuff. Um, I'm constantly in awe. At how you know, usually when you, when you publish a lot of quantity, your quality tends to go down, but she's always on it and like the stuff that she publishes yeah that is true.

Speaker 1:

I do always kind of perk up when I see her stuff pop up.

Speaker 3:

Yeah for sure. Well, cool. Um, aside from, I guess, linkedin, which is the the normal place of engagement these days, and in the professional environment, where can people kind of find you engage with you, connect with you? All that fun stuff.

Speaker 2:

That's pretty much where I'm at.

Speaker 1:

I don't have a podcast to promote. I don't have a book to promote. I'm just on LinkedIn. If you want to connect, I'm happy to, and I love, love, love talking about all things digital scale, customer education, whatever you want to call it. I love talking to folks, whether you're a Pendo customer or not, I'm happy to connect.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's awesome. Well, I, you know, I love kind of your whole aura about things and, um, you know what we've talked about today, obviously, but I really appreciate your time and, uh, you know, sharing your insights with us super valuable stuff and and, yeah, thanks for being on the show.

Speaker 1:

I appreciate it. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 3:

Thank you for joining me for this episode of the digital customer success podcast. If you like what we're doing, consider leaving us a review on your podcast platform of choice. It really helps us to grow and to provide value to a broader audience. You can view the digital customer success definition word map and get more details about the show at digitalcustomersuccesscom. My name is Alex Turkovich. Thanks again for joining and we'll see you next time.

Digital Customer Success Strategies
Leading Customer Education and Scaled CS
Strategic Approach to Customer Education
Building a Scaled Customer Success Team
Training and Development Challenges in SaaS
Improving Customer Engagement Strategies